I hated my previous robo-vacuum. The Ecovacs Deebot M80 was a dumb and terrible device that was infuriating — it would never be able to find its way back to the base station, would keep going in circles and end up at the same spot where it got stuck; it was a bad device. As I started evaluating my next robo-vacuum I had the following requirements:
Must be able to find its way back home
Must be really really good at navigation
Must let me define custom mapping features like no-go zones
Must be good at not having hair stuck in it, and make it easy to remove the hair
Setting this router was extremely easy, the iOS app made it seamless. The router is also a centerpiece of my living room. The LED base and the live speedometer on the LCD screen always makes me happy. The popular Ubiquity features for building a topology and having a coverage heat map are available.
Early last year I got myself a new Netgear R6700 router to replace the Linksys router that kept dropping my Internet every couple of hours. Unfortunately, as decent as the Netgear reviews were, it is a terrible router — either it couldn’t handle the number of devices I have or it is just a bad router. (I think it’s just a bad router.)
Working from home started like a fantastic change of pace. I didn’t have to take early morning flights, I could be in comfort clothes, slide into bed when I wanted to, binge TV whenever I wanted to, work from my bed or couch — all these amazing comforts… And then suddenly within two weeks, every week felt like one looooong Monday. There is no difference between work hours and off-work hours. All of this coupled with laptops that overheat and video Teams call, having the laptop on the lap was becoming very uncomfortable, the laptop on bed would get very hot because the vents were would get blocked.
This article has been a few years coming, it was meant to be a follow-up to my article on the 5 smart gadgets but I just never got to it back then. So after a pause, here’s my list of some simple Amazon-bought dumb accessories to organize a smart / connected home:
Internet of Things is exciting. It’s the culmination of years of hardware and software advances enabling you to interact and control your surroundings through touch/phone/voice. It is truly fascinating and magical. My first, and for the longest time only, smart device has been a WeMo plug. I was using the phone app to turn the room lights ON/OFF, I no longer had to get out of bed to control the lights of my room. It was great!
Then came Alexa. While I wasn’t an early adopter, the affordable Echo Dot was intriguing. During 2016’s Black Friday sales, I got myself the Philips Hue Starter Pack + Echo Dot combo; my rooms have never been the same. My Alexa-powered room setup was:
WeMo plug to control the AC
Hue bulbs for the room
I could control my lights and AC through voice commands via Alexa. Since I had to move, I had a few enhancements in mind. My current smart home setup includes:
I’ve had the new Microsoft Surface Pro 2017 for about a month and I’ve been enjoying it as a laptop more than a tablet. One of the new additions in Windows 10 is the next iteration of Internet Explorer – Edge. As I elaborated in my lengthy Surface Pro 2017 review, I’ve stuck to Edge on the Surface. It took some initial humps to get my Chrome bookmarks synced and setup as I’d like them but I got it working. One of the key things for me is having my bookmarks on my iPhone. I no longer have a Linux or a Mac PC so Chrome wasn’t necessary.
In order to get my bookmarks on iPhone and Edge synced, it was 1 unnecessary step more than what it should be (you can blame Apple or Microsoft for this, you can choose). Read the full story »
The last laptop I bought was in 2011. It was a mid-2011 13″ MacBook Air, something I bought after years of being a vocal non-believer in OS X (my first true use of OS X was Tiger on a Hackintosh). The Air was an upgrade from a back breaking, heavy, overheating, but spectacularly gorgeous screened Dell XPS 16. The decision to switch to Mac came after walking around Manhattan attending TechCrunch Disrupt with a 10 ton bag on my back. During the 6 years since my last laptop, life happened. I was spending most of my time with a work laptop; my need for a personal laptop started to fall drastically, coupled with my iPhone, I hardly used my personal laptop. But I still needed one, and that led to me getting a Surface. My use case for a personal laptop switched from a machine that I used for gaming, reading, writing, movies, Photoshop, video editing, podcast editing etc., to browsing, reading, and writing a book on my dating life; primarily, having a device more versatile and more like a laptop than my iPhone, not necessarily as powerful as my work laptop. Read the full story »
The short answer is that cord cutting is a lie. The cord has changed. The most economical TV subscription service if you want on-demand iPhone and Apple TV support for a good mix of legacy cable TV shows, sports, and news, is your Internet Service Provider bundle. Here’s my detailed spreadsheet comparing:
In hindsight, sticking with Windows Phone was the worst technology decision I made. While I say that, the Microsoft Band has been one of the better ones. Band 1 was nothing but a prototype that became an accidental hit leading to Band 2 which is a more polished product. I love it. Read the full story »
I’m on vacation back home eating good food and avoiding work as much as I can. Also, bored. While streaming Netflix on VPN, I was reminded of the Netflix and Chill switch. Quite intrigued by the idea, I wanted to make it. However, the more I read into it, the more it seemed like a Rube Goldberg Switch; there had to be a simpler way of invoking some of the elements that constitute to a Netflix and Chill night.